From The Armchair: Bye Bye Club Nintendo

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

So no doubt you’ve already heard the news by now: Club Nintendo is to close later this year, which will be very sad news for fans of free tat. Perhaps ‘tat’ is being a bit harsh, but there’s no denying the fact that the stuff being hoiked through the UK site is not a patch on some of the free things they get abroad. Whereas the US and Japanese fans get free games, we get… golf balls and wrapping paper. I kid you not.

Still, all this stuff IS free, so it seems churlish to complain. Although having said that, slogging through all those marketing questionnaires to claim your Club Nintendo stars sometimes felt almost like having a second job. And you have to have a serious amount of stars in order to get anything partway decent.

See? Golf balls and wrapping paper.
See? Golf balls and wrapping paper.

I’ve only ever managed to get three things through Club Nintendo in the 12 or so years of its existence: some Mario themed hanafuda cards, which were pretty cool but ultimately fairly useless; a Pikmin keychain that looked amazing but broke after about a week; and a Yoshi cuddly toy, which is one of my favourite things ever (apart from Fire Emblem amiibo, natch). Yoshi-san is currently still in his wrapping, as I’m planning on giving him to Merriweather Jr when he arrives later this year. Although having said that, I may have to carefully ‘look after’ Yoshi myself until MJ is old enough to treat him with the respect he deserves (i.e. not puking all over him). I reckon he should be mature enough at about sixteen.

The Yoshi plush toy. Too good to give to a child.
The Yoshi plush toy. Too good to give to a child.

So a mixed haul from Club Nintendo, then. Perhaps its demise is no bad thing – although I still think the very fact that Nintendo has a loyalty programme is an indicator of how differently the company goes about its business in comparison to Sony and Microsoft. No wonder Nintendo fans are so devoted.

Nintendo has promised us that Club Nintendo will be replaced with a ‘new scheme’, although they’ve yet to release any details. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be linked in to some sort of gamer account that will let you transfer your profile between machines more easily, as the current system is a right pain. What are your thoughts on Club Nintendo’s demise, and what do you want as a replacement?

In other news, I was pleased to see the reception to my article on Kotaku UK about Douglas Adam’s Starship Titanic – last time I checked it had been shared on Facebook and Twitter over 2,000 times, which put a big smile on my face. I’ve just finished another one, so hopefully it will appear on their website in the not too distant future.

Toodle-pip for now!


  1. That Yoshi plush is adorable!

    As for Club Nintendo, as someone who lives in Brazil and – therefore – has no access to it, I was always surprised at people complaining about how “expensive” the rewards were. I wish I could get stuff for free like that! =/

    1. Very true – it’s a little churlish to complain. Still Nintendo get a wealth of free marketing data out of the arrangement, so it’s a two-way thing 😉

      And yes, the Yoshi plush is amazing. I’m not sure I can let it go…

  2. I’m not as heartbroken as I thought I’d be, in all honesty. There were some good nuggets here and ther in the U.S., but for the most part the downloadable games were either bottom-of-the-barrel or so ubiquitous you had a copy anyways.

    I’d like to see them revive the digital deluxe program; offer us points to use towards games we choose ourselves.

  3. I remember back around Wind Waker’s release when the Zelda disk for Gamecube was on there. It was the compilation with Majora’s Mask and some of the older Zelda games. It was exciting until I saw the price (in Stars currency of course) and realised I’d need to spend a fortune in real life cash to get it. I thought it was great during the Wii era when they finally allowed you to trade for points for the Virtual Console, I jumped on that. Very time consuming for a free NES game, but hey, can’t complain. It sounds like the stuff they’re doing with the Wii U/3DS makes a lot more sense, tying it to digital downloads which have a lot more flexibility and choice attached to them.

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